Blacks Leisure has begun a store rollout programme which it said is the next phase in the company’s turnaround plan.

The outdoor retailer has agreed terms on five shops in Glasgow, Chester, York, Cheltenham and Stratford-upon-Avon. Two of the shops, York and Chester, have started trading and the retailer said “customer reaction has been very positive”.

The rollout is being funded from cashflow within the business which “has been made possible by the strong trading performance over the key Christmas period”.

Last week rival Sports Direct said it might make a bid for Blacks.

In a statement, Blacks Leisure said: “In the absence of any concrete takeover offer from Sports Direct, the company intends to continue with the process of raising additional equity to further support the store rollout programme and is currently negotiating further new sites for both the Blacks and Millets brands.”  

Neil Gillis, chief executive of Blacks Leisure, said: “We are now two years into the turnaround programme for Blacks Leisure. The restructuring of the company last year has put us into an ideal position to now expand the business and the commencement of the store rollout programme is a critical point in the next phase of this turnaround programme.”